HCI and VDI Rescue N.J. Sheriff's Office

By Ariella Brown Print this article Print
Sheriff's Office HCI

To accommodate the need for VDI, long-term storage and video arrays, the Bergen County Sheriff's Office chose a hyperconverged infrastructure solution.

The Bergen County Sheriff's Office is the largest law enforcement agency in that New Jersey County. It supports the municipal police departments with an advanced forensic lab, and maintains security at the Bergen County Justice Center and the Bergen County Jail. In charge of managing the technology that supports all of it is CIO Phil Lisk.

Given the increase in video imaging from the number of cameras managed by the sheriff's office—videos that now numbers in the thousands—the existing data center was becoming overburdened by the demands on the system. Its storage needs increased from 1 petabyte to more than 2.5 PB. The office also needed something that would allow them to implement virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

For a solution that would accommodate their need for VDI, long-term storage and video arrays, Lisk sought a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) system. He looked at a number of products, but found that most of them operated as separate systems that were linked together, rather than a seamlessly unified all-in-one system.

"What we found was that a lot of players in the arena weren't offering true hyperconverged integration—they were just throwing a lot of different pieces together and calling it hyperconverged," Lisk recalls. The other solutions either called for adding on storage or dealing with third-party vendors.

Networking, Connectivity and Redundancy

Lisk eventually found what he wanted in the HCI offered by Pivot3. "All that networking, connectivity and redundancy," he explains, "was pre-built into it."

The release of the solution "hit our timeline perfectly," Lisk says. He was also impressed by the acuity tool, which simplifies workload management with Pivot3's fifth-generation policy-based management engine and data services.

The sheriff's office was already familiar with Pivot3's HCI, as it had been using it to manage video surveillance data since 2006. With the proven past performance and the test it ran for VDI, Pivot 3 came out as the clear choice that would meet its needs for the next five years. The system also offered built-in scalability and resiliency, along with reduced operating costs.

The system was easy to set up, and with the support of Pivot3's staff, it was running within a week. There was no learning curve for users, as they still used their standard Windows log on.

Even while increasing performance and scale, the sheriff's office was able to cut back on the number of servers it used, saving on energy costs. The office also saves on the time that IT teams have to devote to system management by 25 to 30 percent.

But the best thing about the solution is that there is no downtime, even when disaster strikes. Lisk recounts one time when a water pipe leaked over 12 servers, completely ruining one and damaging two others. But Pivot3 immediately sent out a new server to replace the ruined one and fixed the two damaged servers in just one day. "We never lost connectivity or one bit of the video data," he says.

Lisk points out that you want a system that moves data seamlessly in a way that allows users to continue doing what they need to do during a disaster "like nothing even happened."

This article was originally published on 2017-08-02

As a professional blogger, Ariella Brown writes about analytics, marketing, branding, social media, big data, and the impact of the internet on education and society, among other topics.

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